Hume Johnson

A photo of Hume Johnson
Hume Johnson, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Public Relations

Contact Information

x3548hjohnson@rwu.eduGHH 329

Areas of Expertise

Civil society, popular protest and political activism, governance, political analysis, nation branding, personal branding, public relations, media relations, crisis communications, public speaking.


PhD - University of Waikato, New Zealand (Political Science & Public Policy)
MSc. - University of the West Indies, Jamaica (Government, International Relations)
BA - University of the West Indies, Jamaica (Media Communication -Journalism)

Dr. Hume Johnson comes to us from James Cook University, Queensland, Australia where she taught in both the Journalism and Public Relations curriculum. Trained as a broadcast journalist with extensive experience as a television anchor and radio announcer, as well as a political speechwriter and consultant, Dr. Johnson teaches  the following courses:

  • COMM 101 - Introduction to the Mass Media
  • COMM 210 - Public Speaking
  • COMM 350 - Public Relations Techniques
  • COMM 402 - Media Relations
  • COMM 432 - Personal Branding & Self- Marketing


Dr. Johnson is an inter-disciplinary political scholar whose research focuses on three overlapping areas of study: political participation and activism (with attention to popular protests, social movements and civil society); democratic governance, specifically issues of development, crime, statecraft, party politics and public policy) and public relations/media studies (including the public relations and identity of nation states, and media politics). Described as one of the most exciting intellectuals to emerge in the last decade in the field of governance and civil society, Dr Johnson brings to her work thoughtful, cogent and provocative approaches that bring together concepts from democratic politics, social movement theory, and media studies to interrogate the received wisdom on civil society and good governance.

She has written extensively on the challenges to building genuine and empowered civil society in countries of the Global South. For example, her first book entitled ‘Challenges to Civil Society: Popular Protest and Governance in Jamaica, Cambria Press, 2011), reconceptualizes civil society to examine the nature and consequences of popular protest in Jamaica. The study is the first empirically grounded investigation into the challenges to civil society in Jamaica, breaking new ground in the study of the difficult relationship between civil society and democratic governance in the context of the Global South.  By asking vexing questions about the implications of incivility for the functioning of civil society in the context of the Third World, Dr. Johnson reminds readers of civil society’s dual face and the challenge this poses, especially for developing countries.

Dr Johnson’s concerns about the implications of violence for civil society have also extended to examining the issue of “informer-phobia” – the fear of reporting on threats of terrorist or criminal activities – focusing on the specific context of Afghanistan with members of the ISEF  personnel (interpreters) working with the international forces, and among ordinary citizens in Jamaica residing in communities rules by powerful criminal Mafia Dons. A journal article and book chapter (co-authored with Joseph Soeters, military sociologist, Netherlands Defence Academy and University of Tilburg) have introduced and developed the concept of “informer-phobia”.

Dr Johnson’s versatility as a scholar is also evident in her contributions to the broad area of development studies. Her chapter entitled “Ode to Quasheba” in a co-edited book, On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions (Routledge, 2009), examines the way in which Afro-Caribbean Jamaican ‘higgler’ women challenge conditions of poverty and inequality through participation in various socio-political protests. The chapter offers fresh insights into the tensions that exist between the imperatives of protest politics, the concerns of survival for entrepreneurial poor women, and the need for good governance in Jamaica.


Alongside this work on incivility in civil society, Dr Johnson is undertaking pioneering work in the area of international public relations, particularly on branding in the context of nation states and political parties, with a specific focus on Jamaica. Her recent article ‘JAMAICA: A famous, strong but damaged brand’ (Journal of Nation Brand and Public Diplomacy, Vol 10, 199-217, 2014) provides an incisive analysis of the dialectic tension in Jamaica’s national image - of positive achievements in music, culture and sports that are potentially negated by the destabilizing impacts of crime, poverty, and a poor human rights record.

She is currently working on an edited volume entitled ‘Brand Jamaica: Re-Imagining Jamaica’s Image and Identity’, with cultural studies scholar, Kamille Gentles-Peart, aimed at recasting the Eurocentric paradigms and focal points in Jamaica’s national identity to a people-centred epistemology, highlighting and reconciling the lived realities of Jamaican citizens with the current tourism promotion models used to market Jamaica as an exotic island paradise of sun, sand and sea.  The volume, forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press, is significant as it is the first empirical look at Jamaica's post-independence national image, and points to the imperative for Jamaican authorities to evaluate, manage, and re-imagine the nation’s public international image in line with the demands of globalization, and to ensure their economic and social progress..


Civil society, popular protest and political activism, governance, political analysis, nation branding, personal branding, public relations, media relations, crisis communications, public speaking


  • BOOK: ‘Challenges to Civil Society: Popular Protest & Governance in Jamaica’(Cambria Press, New York, 2011).
  • Brand JAMAICA: Re-Imagining Jamaica’s National Image and Identity. Forthcoming. University of Nebraska Press.
  • ‘Ode to Quasheba: Resistance Rituals of Higgler Women in Jamaica’. In Foran, Bhavnani, Kurian, Munshi (Eds.) (2009) On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions New York: Routledge.
  • ‘Performing Protest in Jamaica: The Mass Media as Stage’ (2008). International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics. Vol. 4 (2) pp. 163-182.
  • ‘Informer-phobia’: Understanding the ‘fear-factor’ in crime and terror-related information disclosure in Afghanistan (co-author, Joseph Soeters, Netherlands Defence Academy). In Kummel, G. and, Soeters, J. (Eds.) 2012. New Wars, New Militaries, New Soldiers: Conflicts, the Armed Forces and the Soldierly Subject. UK: Emerald Group Publishing.
  • ‘See and Blind, Hear and Deaf: Informerphobia in Jamaican Garrisons’. Journal of Crime Prevention and Community Safety. 2015, 17, pp. 47-66.
  • Jamaican Dons, Italian Mafias, and the chances of a “reversible destiny”. Co-author, Joseph Soeters (Netherlands Defense Academy), Political Studies, Issue 56 (1), March 2008, pp. 166-191.
  • Towards De-Garrisonisation in Jamaica: A Place for Civil Society’. Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal. Feb 2010.
  • ‘JAMAICA: A Famous, Strong but Damaged Brand’. In Journal of Place Branding and Public Diplomacy. 2014, Vol. 10, pp. 199-217.
  • ‘Brand PNP: The Party’s Political Image in Perspective’.In Franklyn, D. (Ed) (2013) The PNP at 75: The Party for the People. pp. 408-426. Kingston: Wilson Franklyn Barnes Publishers.


Dr Johnson’s work has an energy and edge that come from extending her scholarship in innovative and creative ways. She is the Founder and Chairperson of the nation brand think tank, The Re:Imagine Jamaica Project aimed at deepening global knowledge and understanding of her native Jamaica. In service to this objective, she organized and chaired the inaugural Conference on Jamaica’s national image at the University of the West Indies, July 2015. She has also carried this conversation to Jamaicans in Diasporic communities across the United States and Britain, including public lectures at the Jamaica High Commission, London in 2014 and at the 4th biennial conference of the Jamaican Diaspora in Birmingham, UK, 2014, as well as the Jamaica Canadian Association, Toronto, March 2017.

Dr. Hume Johnson is also recognized political commentator and analyst with Jamaican and global media, engaging in public debates on a wide range of governance and development issues of central concern to Jamaica. Her commentary has appeared on BBC World News, Al Jazeera, NBC 10 (USA), O’Globo Newspaper (Brazil), City Metric (UK), Transform Magazine (UK), The Jamaica Gleaner, Radio Jamaica, CVM Television, The Jamaica Observer, Power 106 FM and Nationwide News Network (Jamaica), as well as popular place branding blogs, The Place Brand Observer and

Through her firm, Hume Johnson Consulting, Dr. Johnson offers training and consultancy services in strategic communications (media relations, public relations, crisis communications), public speaking, broadcasting, and personal and corporate branding. Her clients have included Government of Jamaica Senators and Ministers, entertainers, business executives, broadcasters, as well as other working professionals and students. Recently she coached former Director of Housing Works, Rhode Island, Nellie Gorbea, alongside other executives in media relations. Mrs. Gorbea went on campaign for and was elected as Secretary of State for Rhode Island.


  • Member - Advisory Board of City, Nation, Place – a new forum for those responsible for branding strategies for their cities, nations and regions.
  • Member -Community Advisory Board of the United Way of Rhode Island.
  • Member - Southern New England Association of Black Journalists (SNEABJ).
  • Former Executive Member- Youth Advisory Council, (Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Hon. P.J Patterson, 1992-2006) established to assess and advise the Prime Minister on government policy and performance.
  • Member - The Commonwealth International Election Observer mission -Co-operative Republic of Guyana (South America) Regional and National elections,2015.

Contact Dr Hume Johnson
Department of Media + Design + Communication
Feinstein College of Arts & Education
Global Heritage Hall, Room 329
Tel: 401 254 3548 (office)
Twitter: @DrHumeJohnson